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Old 02-28-2010, 05:00 PM   #1
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110v Res. Fridg--Generator usage

A MH I am considering is a 08 with res. fridg with a 100w and 10w solar panel, 2000w inverter, 6 6v batteries (720 amp hrs. I really don't look forward to listenig to the gen all day of an 8 hr driving day.

Is it really necessary to have the gen running all the time the coach is not plugged into shoreside power? What is the experience of curent owners of res. fridgs? Waterog4315
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:22 PM   #2
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Although we have not taken any long trips, we run the fridge on LP while driving. Does your fridge have a different system than most? Joe
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:30 PM   #3
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Joe,
He is referring to a regular household refrigerator and not an RV fridge. There is no propane option.
Waterdog,
You fridge will do just fine on the inverter. You will likely have to run the generator first thing in the morning for 2-4 hours and then run it again in the evening since you will have draws from many sources after dark. Usually another 2-4 hours in the evening and you are good again for the night. Since you have some solar you may not even have to run it that long and how you use what you have will be the determining factor. You should never have to run the generator while you are driving as the alternator should provide more than enough juice to offset the draw from the fridge. We have a GE Profile in our coach and we simply would not such happy full-timers without it. No chance I could ever trade coaches if a residential fridge was not part of the package.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:12 PM   #4
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Waterdog,

Our '05 Alpine has the set-up you describe. We full-time and never have to run our generator unless we are dry-camping or want to use full-house a/c while going down the road. As Bill said, we can't imagine not having our residential refrigerator (Amana).
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:45 PM   #5
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Waterdog:

Our coach is 100w solar, residential fridge, six 6-volt batteries and a 3000w inverter (makes no difference 2K or 3K). We only run our genset when boondocking. 2 hours in the morning, 1-2 hours in the evening.

You can also add solar, wind or extra batteries if you boondock often.

Now that I've had a residential fridge, I'll not go back, unless they start making 22 c.f. propane/electrics. We love ours!
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:03 PM   #6
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Waterdoy,
Well….. I’ve never had a residential fridge in an RV, but, contrary to the other posts, I would never have one if I was going to do a significant amount of boon docking – and we do. Going from RV park to RV park would probably be fine. A 100 watt solar panel is not much help to your situation. And then running a generator 3 to 8 hours a day, based on the other posts, seems like a lot of gen time. I hate to run my generator because it disturbs the peace and quiet (but that’s just me) – although I have to run it about an hour a day with the fridge on LP just to recharge the batteries for our other electricity consuming activities.
I do agree with the others the capacity of you inverter is more than adequate, and the 6 batteries really helps the situation. And on a positive note, I assume the residential fridge is better at maintaining temperatures which sometimes my Dometic is marginal, especially the freezer. And of course there more roomier.
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:55 PM   #7
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Waterdog - I have been RV'ing for over 25 years. I have had everything from an ice box, to a residential fridge which is installed in our current Alpine APEX 40 MDTS. I will never have any RV without a Residential Fridge installed. We have traveled all day and into the night with our coach, and the alternator installed keep the batteries up, with the inverter running the fridge while we travel. We have stayed on our property dry camping and only ran the genset in the evening for about 2-3 hours to bring the batteries back while the inverter was keeping the fridge up. In your inverter setup keep the low battery voltage at the 12.2V setting so the genset can then start automatically and keep them charged. A fully charged battery bank will be at 12.8V when tested.

Since I just completed a week long session on RV absorption refrigerators, and seeing all the recalls on Norcold and Dometic models, I will never willingly choose to have one. The reasons are numerous, but basically they won’t be able to keep your food cold when a hot day happens. They cooling process although proven is long, takes some 12DC voltage which controls all the electronic systems, if not present the fridge can shut down or go into maintain mode. Additionally, if in the long run replacement happens it's very expensive. These unit types have to be very level to operate correctly, and the potential for loss of charge is moderate. The chemicals inside them are: filled with hydrogen as the pressure gas, ammonia, water, and sodium chromate. The operating pressure is 360 PSI and some less depending on the position in the cycle the ammonia is reacting with the hydrogen gas is in the cycle. Today I installed one of the Dometic recall kits, and it consists of a heat sensitive switch, a thermal resistor and lots of new sheet metal to contain the potential fire/loss of pressure when the system fails. Dometic and Norcold have not taken the necessary steps to strengthen the plumbing in the cooling units so the potential fire issues in my opinion have been eliminated, they took the least expensive solution to patch the poor engineering currently in place on these units. Lots of RVs have them, and are successful with them, but I won’t take out my Residential one, to reduce my electrical requirements, as having 22 cuft of cold/freezer storage. I recently saw the results of an RV refer which had had at least one new cooling unit installed and then had caught fire; I don’t need to go there. Current replacement costs on RV type refers are at least 1400-3000 (refer cost only no labor included) if you have a double door model with ice maker. Residential models cost about 14-1600 dollars and hold twice to three times as much food. Less cost and more food storage – that is the plan.

The first thing that you should do is always make sure the batteries are full of electrolyte and if you need to add water use distilled water to bring them up to about 1/2 inch below the fill hole. You should check the fluid level at least once a month after fully charging them.

When dry camping your AGS (auto gen start) system can then start the generator when needed and would use the hours of 10PM - 8AM as your quiet hours to be courteous to the fellow people who may be close. If the batteries are older than 5 years, have them load tested and checked with a hydrometer to make sure you don't have any dead cells. Replace them with Interstate batteries of the same Amp hour rating. If you choose to do this yourself, take a picture of the area and associated wiring first so you don't forget how they go back together, as although only 12V, there is a huge amp draw if you wire something wrong. Thoroughly clean out the battery compartment before you install the new ones, and clean up the area with a baking soda and water solution, eliminating any rust/corrosion after the cleaning, and then repaint with a good paint that is very resilient to acid.

You could choose AGM batteries, but the charging voltage is critical so you don’t short one of them out. Lead/Acid is just as a proven technology and cost less.

Glad you joined the group, welcome aboard.
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:56 PM   #8
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Waterdog - I have been RV'ing for over 25 years. I have had everything from an ice box, to a residential fridge which is installed in our current Alpine APEX 40 MDTS. I will never have any RV without a Residential Fridge installed. We have traveled all day and into the night with our coach, and the alternator installed keep the batteries up, with the inverter running the fridge while we travel. We have stayed on our property dry camping and only ran the genset in the evening for about 2-3 hours to bring the batteries back while the inverter was keeping the fridge up. In your inverter setup keep the low battery voltage at the 12.2V setting so the genset can then start automatically and keep them charged. A fully charged battery bank will be at 12.8V when tested.

Since I just completed a week long session on RV absorption refrigerators, and seeing all the recalls on Norcold and Dometic models, I will never willingly choose to have one. The reasons are numerous, but basically they wonít be able to keep your food cold when a hot day happens. They cooling process although proven is long, takes some 12DC voltage which controls all the electronic systems, if not present the fridge can shut down or go into maintain mode. Additionally, if in the long run replacement happens it's very expensive. These unit types have to be very level to operate correctly, and the potential for loss of charge is moderate. The chemicals inside them are: filled with hydrogen as the pressure gas, ammonia, water, and sodium chromate. The operating pressure is 360 PSI and some less depending on the position in the cycle the ammonia is reacting with the hydrogen gas is in the cycle. Today I installed one of the Dometic recall kits, and it consists of a heat sensitive switch, a thermal resistor and lots of new sheet metal to contain the potential fire/loss of pressure when the system fails. Dometic and Norcold have not taken the necessary steps to strengthen the plumbing in the cooling units so the potential fire issues in my opinion have been eliminated, they took the least expensive solution to patch the poor engineering currently in place on these units. Lots of RVs have them, and are successful with them, but I wonít take out my Residential one, to reduce my electrical requirements, as having 22 cuft of cold/freezer storage. I recently saw the results of an RV refer which had had at least one new cooling unit installed and then had caught fire; I donít need to go there. Current replacement costs on RV type refers are at least 1400-3000 (refer cost only no labor included) if you have a double door model with ice maker. Residential models cost about 14-1600 dollars and hold twice to three times as much food. Less cost and more food storage Ė that is the plan.

The first thing that you should do is always make sure the batteries are full of electrolyte and if you need to add water use distilled water to bring them up to about 1/2 inch below the fill hole. You should check the fluid level at least once a month after fully charging them.

When dry camping your AGS (auto gen start) system can then start the generator when needed and would use the hours of 10PM - 8AM as your quiet hours to be courteous to the fellow people who may be close. If the batteries are older than 5 years, have them load tested and checked with a hydrometer to make sure you don't have any dead cells. Replace them with Interstate batteries of the same Amp hour rating. If you choose to do this yourself, take a picture of the area and associated wiring first so you don't forget how they go back together, as although only 12V, there is a huge amp draw if you wire something wrong. Thoroughly clean out the battery compartment before you install the new ones, and clean up the area with a baking soda and water solution, eliminating any rust/corrosion after the cleaning, and then repaint with a good paint that is very resilient to acid.

You could choose AGM batteries, but the charging voltage is critical so you donít short one of them out. Lead/Acid is just as a proven technology and cost less.

Glad you joined the group, welcome aboard.
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